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I have been reading the Hub with enjoyment since its inception. Over the last few years I have noticed a left-leaning bias in the letters section.
While reading left-leaning letters with mild amusement, I must draw the line at Catholic-bashing. As a Past Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus, I am incensed that a letter writer would willy-nilly express his extremely hateful and harmful view on Catholics and our priests.
Apparently, bashing my country is in vogue. Bashing Catholics will never be, despite the best efforts of the American left.
James G. Falkenburgh
After reading the to the editor that was signed by 29 local clergymen/women regarding the drag show, I was struck with an incredible feeling of hypocrisy.
From 1950 to 2020 over 216,000 children were molested by Catholic priests in the U.S. 4% of said priests were reported to have molested children and the Catholic church has paid billions to settle the lawsuits.
We all know of the phrase in the Bible, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone…”, and I feel that clergy who wrote the letter should be policing their own ranks instead of casting dispersions on another population that has a far lower incident rate of child molestation.
In a recent open letter, area clergy expressed concern over a drag show coming to our local community. Many in our community took this as judgment upon others. I wanted to clarify why our church signed.
Many seemed to express confusion as to why local church leaders may be taking a stand on such an issue. There is a feeling that Jesus would never cast judgment on those who many label “sinners.” If we take a closer look at the life and teachings of Christ, we see Jesus was in fact loving and even accepting of people who struggled with real issues. He walked with them, talked with them and ate with them. As we reflect on the great love of Christ we must be careful, however, that we do not confuse this for an approval of sin.
Consider the adulterous woman. Jesus told those who had no sin to cast the first stone. One by one individuals dropped their stone and walked away. When Jesus asked if there was still anyone to condemn her she said no. Then Jesus told her, “neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” You see, Jesus loved and accepted the person. He did not approve of her sin. He loved her enough to speak truth in the hope that there might be a positive change in her life.
Society is changing and with that change our nation and local communities seem to be more polarized than ever. I believe there is a way for us to instead come to the table, eat together, and have open and honest conversations about our convictions and beliefs. When people we disagree with take a position we should see it as an opportunity to come together rather than a moment that tears us apart.
Speaking up on these important issues is becoming more and more important. While we acknowledge the right of people to host and participate in an event they believe appropriate for themselves, there is no doubt there has been an attempt in the modern world to silence those who still hold biblical values. This has led to a great deal of confusion for even children in our society.
When people become blind to the differing values so many others in our communities hold it leads to the type of polarization we see today. The truth is many do not want to see sexuality promoted in our communities, for children to see, when these matters should only be discussed in the home at an age parents feel is appropriate. Ignoring this fact has led to a great deal of confusion and division.
The local school is for education, not a place to promote world views on human sexuality. It is simply inappropriate for youth and children’s programming to promote the idea of transitioning one’s gender when by the same societal standards they are not old enough to get a tattoo or drink a beer.
These positions are not meant to divide. We are simply saying there are certain subjects meant to be left to parents. This is something parents who hold biblical values and those who do not should understand.
Lead Pastor at Oak Orchard Assembly of God in Medina
It has come to my attention that the clergy of Orleans County and their houses of worship have decided to do their civic duty and begin paying taxes. It’s truly about time, and I am sure that the money will be well used for infrastructure and services to the people of New York, Orleans County and the village of Albion. It’s all I can assume they mean when they call for a cancellation of an event at a tax-paying establishment, that they seem to have an issue with.
Specifically, I’m talking about the Drag Me to Brunch event being help at The Lockstone in Albion on October 1st. The red herring argument used by the writer is on its surface intolerant, but at its core is also bigoted. I am disappointed to find this still surviving in the same town where I was taught acceptance, understanding and tolerance.
I can almost see their issue, but not really. So, they believe that because some adults wish to get together and have some fun, and one of the participating Drag Queens has expressed her enjoyment of Drag Queen Story Hour, one leads directly to the other?
Do they perhaps expect that an army of Drag Queens (there are Drag Kings too, How do you like them?) Are going to march into the Hoag Library and force the village children to list to “Hansel and Gretel?” Or perhaps they envision “Hedwig and the Angry Inch?”
Either way, I don’t see that happening. Any event needs planning and nobody will be forced to participate, believe me, it’s strictly on a volunteer basis. As with any cult, we must keep our supplicants under-educated and unquestioning. Heaven forbid they begin to think for themselves.
Since the attempted coup of January 6th, 2021 was thwarted, we still live in The United States of America, and as such still live under the U.S. Constitution. I’m sure you know the document, the 1st Amendment of which begins thus: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; ….
It further continues, …or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievance. This, I was taught in Albion High School in 1986 by Mr. Miller in 12th grade American History class. He was pretty adamant about our understanding of the Constitution.
So my understanding is this: The Government is not beholden to any religious group, ever. And furthermore, we can not be forced to do their bidding, ever.
We may exercise our freedom of assembly to enjoy whatever entertainment that we wish, so long as we maintain the peace as defined in the NY State penal code. Since this is an adults-only event, as defined by the NY State Liquor Authority, it seems that we are well within our rights to do as we shall do. I can imagine why this would scare you.
As a 56-year-old, hetero male, my wife and I will certainly have some fun at this event. We will enjoy the music, the food and the show. We can’t help it, we have open minds and open hearts. It’s all one needs to find joy in life.
In response to the letter to the editor entitled, “Clergy members ask the organizer to cancel drag queen performance Oct. 1 in Albion.”
I am shocked at the level of absurdity in the notion that drag queens represent a moral threat to society or that their goal is to take over children’s story hours. That is as laughable as it is reprehensible.
As far back as 1975, when the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” was mainstream for well over a decade, drag queens have been accepted for what they are: talented performers.
Regarding the “drag queen story hours,” I am willing to wager that if we added up the hours that the undersigned anti-drag religious folk have devoted to local libraries for children’s story hours, it has either been minuscule or non-existent and that the majority of signees has never hosted a children’s book reading at a library. Thus, their concern that drag queens will take them over seems disingenuous.
Whatever the case, the best solution would not be to call for the event’s cancellation; and it would be for them to attend it. That would provide an opportunity for outreach, as opposed to condemnation – which seems like a Christian concept.
It is one thing to urge people not to attend an event, but an attack on a private, locally-owned business should be unacceptable, even if it is click-worthy on social media.
I live in the Town of Barre Water District #10 and was able to attend the latest Town Board meeting held earlier this week.
I was able to speak. I was, however, unable to formulate appropriate questions, public speaking not being my forte. Had I been able to, frankly I’m not sure if the answers would have been forthcoming.
My questions are, as follows:
1. How much will the water table plummet in the Town of Barre when water is pumped out of the fields for the footers/foundations or any subterranean structure of the turbines?
2. Were the ditches and streams cleared not because of dead ash trees but for the turbines?
3. Did property owners put tile lines in their properties in anticipation of controlling the water?
4. How are the STAMP project, the Iroquois Wildlife Refuge, and the Town of Barre connected?
5. Did FEMA change the flood plain map in anticipation of someone other the Mother Nature controlling the water in Barre?
Numerous issues surrounding water in the Town of Barre have reached critical mass. Residents can no longer muddle through life thinking that the Town of Barre has all of us in their thoughts and prayers. We are in their crosshairs.
It has come to our attention that a drag queen performance has been scheduled at The Lockstone in Albion for Sunday, October 1st. We, the undersigned pastors and ministry leaders in the community would like to address this.
We acknowledge the right of the organizers to hold this event and for people to attend, but we believe that its overall impact would be detrimental to our community. We respect those who hold different views; however, we believe that many share our concerns. In light of that, we are happy to represent those who feel as we do.
As most of you are aware, there have been attempts across the country to make drag more and more mainstream in our society. According to GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) “drag queens are men, typically gay men, who dress like women for the purpose of entertainment.”
While the scheduled event is for those 21 and over, we are also aware of the emergence of “drag queen story hours” for children that have been taking place across the country. One of our concerns is that the attempt to normalize drag queen events such as the one scheduled for October 1st is a precursor to prepare the community for further drag queen events, including drag queen story hours.
One of the performers who is slated to appear in Albion stated on his website that his desire is to be a “queer role model.” Video footage of him conducting children’s story hours is also found on his page.
Clearly, there are sexual overtones and implicit sexual content in most drag performances. While that content is not emphasized in the story hour setting, it remains a significant part of the drag world. Just as most in the community would not endorse “adult film star story hours”, or “exotic dancer story hours”, even if those individuals were not directly promoting the industry that they represent, common sense tells us that such events would be inappropriate for children.
We, the undersigned, respectfully ask the organizers of this event to cancel the upcoming show.
Pastor Tim Lindsay – Harvest Christian Fellowship
Pastor Russ Peters – Alabama Full Gospel Fellowship
Pastors Jovannie & Melisa Canales – Oasis Church
Pastor Bryan McDowell – Oak Orchard Assembly of God
Pastor Dan Thurber – Oak Orchard Assembly of God
Chaplain Don Snyder – Oak Orchard Assembly of God
Pastors Tim & Virginia Thomas – The River at Orleans County New York Church
Pastors Sam & Sue Hershberger – Faith Covenant Fellowship
Pastor Vincent Iorio – Calvary Tabernacle Assembly of God
Chaplain Ayesha Kreutz – Frederick Douglass Foundation of New York
Pastor Rich Allis – Light of Victory Church
Pastor Terry Bryant – God’s Voice Ministries
Pastor Sarah Ferguson – The Risen Café
Pastor Steve Pawley – Shelby Center Church
Pastors Eddie & Lady Rose English – The Lord’s House
Rev. Larry Malakie – Founder/Director, My Messenger Ministries
Pastor Jim Heiler – West Barre United Methodist Church
Pastor Margie Eason – Gateway to Heaven Church
Wende Swick – Care Net Center of Greater Orleans
Pastor Kevin Lawson – Calvary Tabernacle Assembly of God
Rev. Mike Stephenson
Pastor Erik Olsen – East Shelby Community Bible Church
Pastor Paul Adelle Sr. – Grove United Methodist Church
Pastor Mark A. Washington – Greater Lamb of Life Church of God in Christ
Approaching a heavy office door recently, a young man spotted me on two canes, and though 10 feet beyond, said “I’m sorry,” turned around and went back and opened the door for me. Guessing, I said “Gracias.” Confirming my guess, he responded, “De nada.”
Margaret and I are both on canes, and at 87 we struggle to get out of cars and chairs. Countless folks, old, young, male, female, minorities and majorities, often teens offer us help. I joked with a receptionist who witnessed some of this, “walking with canes seems to bring out the best in people.”
Individually, in particular, people seem to want to be helpful and kind. Sometimes in groups we prioritize the survival of the group to points of selfishness, injustice and even cruelty and brutality.
But, several groups in the Albion area instead are busy helping out the less fortunate. At the regular Catholic Social Justice meeting recently, Annette Finch told about helping with a child-lunch program Tuesdays and Fridays during the summer at Bullard Park, put on by Albion Summer Program, the Masons, Rev. Al and Mrs. Ykeeta Wilson and the Royal Body Shop Church and Annette and other volunteers.
About 150 children came and were respectful and thankful. Annette was moved when a 10-year-old girl asked Annette to wrap hers to take home for her mother. Also, several farmers, stores contribute food. Folks donate money.
She pointed out that several other organizations help the needy and neglected: For instance, Sister Dolores Ann O’Dowd and the Genesee-Orleans Ministry of Concern that for 60 years now has helped with housing, furniture, clothing, bedding, food, prescription, landlord and inspection emergencies and runs the Special Friends volunteer program.
Community Kitchen, now known as Koinonia, has over 60 churches volunteering on their Thursday night hot dinners and lunches to take home. The Royal Body Shop Church runs several feeding activities, offering meals, a help-yourself refrigerator and cupboard at Arnold’s.
Two other churches now in Albion also have refrigerator/cupboards. Jack Burris for several years now has expanded his rug-cleaning business into his weekend Hands of Hope Ministry with food and clothing for the needy.
St. Vincent DePaul, Knights of Columbus, Catholic Daughters, Ladies of Charity all volunteer and the latter three donate to the above causes generously.
Albion Betterment Committee, Hoag Library contribute much to the community and utilize volunteers. Orleans Office of Aging knows about transportation and care for medical, food and other needs and utilizes volunteers. This list is not exhaustive.
Amidst all the anger, meanness and cruelty in our society, I believe it’s outnumbered by those who want to help, and make these efforts. The many volunteers that help in the Albion area are an example of the goodness of mankind.
If you, teen-agers, adults, elderly like me, are anxious to help, contact any of the above or our local churches. If you have problems making contact, you can contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marg and Bob Golden
A number of concerns have been raised about the impacts of the construction of an underground pipeline that would discharge treated water from businesses at STAMP into Oak Orchard Creek.
These are concerns that we have taken very seriously and addressed. Multiple engineering studies and peer engineering and environmental regulatory reviews have been conducted to assess potential impacts of discharging this treated water into the creek. This process is similar to how municipalities treat water before it is discharged into local waterways.
While existing businesses at STAMP, including Plug Power and Edwards, would discharge approximately 50,000 gallons per day of treated water into Oak Orchard Creek, the studies and peer reviews assessed the impacts of the potential for a maximum of 6 million gallons per day as if STAMP was at full build out.
The various studies and peer reviews conducted by engineering professionals took that maximum level into account and determined that the increased flow from the STAMP discharge will not have a noticeable impact on the 100-year flood elevations downstream nor will it impact stream velocity, water levels, water quality impairments and/or area wide erosion.
Concerns also have been raised about potentially impacting the capacity at water treatment facilities in neighboring communities which could negatively impact bringing new businesses and/or assist business expansion because of a lack of capacity.
Again, citing these same studies and peer reviews for the potential for a maximum of 6 million gallons per day if STAMP was at full build out it was determined that:
• The increase in surface water elevations in Oak Orchard Creek during a 10-year storm event would be approximately 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch with STAMP discharging at the maximum expected level of 6 MGD.
• Given the above, the Medina water treatment plant which currently operates with a maximum permitted level of treating 4.5 MGD could expand by another 10 MGD in order to accommodate new capacity for business growth and/or expansion without impact from STAMP’s maximum expected 6 MGD discharge.
• An adjoining dam to Oak Orchard Creek could absorb the 6 MGD into its storage capacity without modification to the dam’s operations.
We want to support our partners in economic development to assist any we can to enhance investment in the GLOW region. We would not advocate for something that would be detrimental to our partners as we all are working collaboratively to bring prosperity to our region.
Finally, we want to thank the approximately 38 landowners who agreed to temporary and permanent easements on their properties to allow the underground pipeline to be constructed. We appreciate their understanding of the temporary and permanent need to use their properties for this critically important regional economic development initiative.
Please visit www.informationaboutstamp.com to review the various engineering studies and peer review documents related to this project.
Genesee County Economic Development Center
Steven G. Hyde
President & CEO
Genesee County Economic Development Center
To the Yates Town Board, your letter in the Orleans Hub on 9/6/23 in response to my letter of 9/4/23 stated the following:
“To let the Hub readers decide for themselves whether we are prudent stewards of the taxpayers hard-earned money, we offer the following: From 2021-2023, the Town ‘Inside Village’ tax rate was either flat or decreased each year (2021 = 3.66, 2022 = 3.55, 2023 = 3.66). And while the Town ‘Outside Village’ tax rate has increased 2% per year (2021 = 4.83, 2022 = 4.93, 2023 = 5.03), the combined tax rate increase each year averaged below 2%.”
The above numbers are correct, but here is “The rest of the story,” as Paul Harvey would have said.
Let’s go back to one year prior to 2021. In 2020 the Town “Inside Village” tax rate was $2.49. Math shows us that the $3.66 tax rate in 2021 noted above was a $1.17 or 46.9% increase! In 2020 the Town “Outside Village” tax rate was $4.34. Math shows us that the $4.83 tax rate in 2021 noted above was a $0.49 or 11.3% increase.
I will stop there and “let the Hub readers decide for themselves whether (you) are prudent stewards of the taxpayers hard-earned money.”
Time for sweeping change. This November 7th please elect both Paul Lauricella and Steven Colon on the “Conservative” or “Taxpayers First” line to Yates Town Councilman.
Getting where you’re going a minute earlier may seem necessary, but it often is unnecessary and stresses the only planet we have a bit more.
On Monday, September 11, a red-tail hawk was doing what they do for us while attempting to survive when hit by a vehicle just east of Millville on 31A. Was that machine being driven above the speed limit by a person who didn’t care what is more likely to happen when we drive too fast? Would it have happened anyway? Was it just absent-mindedness? Or was it just a young bird who misjudged a dangerous situation?
Living things may be killed by individuals driving within the posted limits. However, death—or serious injury—is more likely when we drive above the legal limits.
Red tails hunt mice and other small rodents. They help all areas but are especially valuable to an agricultural one such as ours.
They are also beautiful creatures who have their place in the grand scheme of things. Please consider giving them—and all of our birds—a brake.
Gary F. Kent
I grew up in Orleans County in the 1960s and graduated from Albion High School in 1970. I retired from the USAF after 25 years of service and settled in south Texas. I follow the Hub and see an occasional letter to the editor that speaks to the state of our democracy.
I think there is little question that we are in a steady state of decline. Our politics have become so polarized with anyone trying to find conscious and middle ground being singled out and chastised by the fringes of both parties. At the federal level we have the three branches of government all of which at best are self-serving and ineffective and at worst corrupt and engaged in unethical and unlawful behavior.
We have members of Congress who are habitual liars, conspiracists and unprincipled leaders who refuse to rid the governing body from this poison. The Congress refuses to pass meaningful legislation to address gun violence, immigration reform, budgetary and debt reduction or any number of important issues.
The Supreme Court membership is now too far to right and proven to be less than truthful based on their testimony during confirmation hearings and then their votes regarding abortion rights. Perhaps the most glaring issue is Justice Thomas who repeatedly took favorable trips, vacations and sold properties to a right wing Texas billionaire. His wife is a former President Trump confidant and he sees nothing wrong with anything he does.
Chief Justice Roberts refuses to establish firm ethics policies and thumbs his nose at the Senate when they want to pass ethics rules for the court.
Lastly, the executive branch with current President Biden showing signs of advancing age and with a family member under attorney general investigation and running for a second term makes us think are there better candidates available.
The Republican Party seems hell bent on making former president Trump their candidate in 2024. The man has at least four felony indictments, some of which are undoubtedly justified. Maybe I am showing my bias but in my observation he facilitated the attack on the US capitol, he admittedly (his own words) tried to overturn the results of the previous election and he mishandled highly classified government documents.
Being a retired USAF colonel I happen to know quite a bit about handling classified information. What he did with the hoard of classified documents is inexcusable. If myself or any of my military colleagues were caught with top-secret classified information outside of line of sight and not in a secured area we probably would be court marshaled, perhaps lose our pension or worse.
He should get no free pass on this and honestly should be held at a higher standard. For this single reason alone he is unfit for the presidency.
So here we are with disfunction, lying and unethical behavior at every branch of our government. Can Congress do its job? Can the Supreme Court clean up its act and rule by law and precedence? Can one of the political parties find and promote a centrist candidate without a ton of baggage?
Would the polarized electorate elect such a person? As a member of the baby boomer generation I fear we failed our parents, the greatest generation, and future generations to come.
Colonel, USAF retired
Garden Ridge, Texas
Recently, I read an article on the New York Times website: “We’re All Water-Bottle Freaks”, written by Matt Richtel. Matt writes about the fact that we have increasingly become concerned about the amount of single-use plastic we dispose of, meaning that we are taking this issue seriously.
This, of course, is a very good thing. So, we have been purchasing substantially more reusable drinking containers. However, despite this, consumers continue to buy an alarmingly increasing number of single-use plastic water bottles, even as faucet water remains free. This doesn’t seem to make much sense.
I know that despite the fact that I have joined a group, “Green Orleans”, which was created to encourage community members to incorporate actions to help preserve our environment, I often forget to bring my reusable water bottle to a sporting event, or the ice cream stand, and also forget to bring my clean reusable container to a restaurant when the meal is complete and I have leftovers to bring home. So, I collect another plastic container and add it to my pile.
I guess we can make many excuses for purchasing and accumulating a large number of plastic bottles, containers, etc. Liking the looks of that new reusable bottle we see in the store, not trusting the quality of the water from a faucet, forgetting to carry our reusable bottle, looking “foolish” by taking our own container into a restaurant to take home leftovers, etc. Since, most of us are taking the “plastic” situation seriously, I guess that we just need to do a better job of remembering to “cut back”, me included.
And, we just need to be willing to “model” the behavior that we wish others would use. I do believe that taking a reusable container for leftovers into a restaurant may serve as encouragement for others to consider doing this the next time they go out to eat.
Sister Dolores O’Dowd (Green Orleans Coordinator), email@example.com, and I, Tom Robinson, firstname.lastname@example.org welcome any thoughts regarding this opinion letter, and/or thoughts and ideas for our group, which meets monthly on the third Thursday, 11:30 a.m. at the Hoag Library in Albion. All are welcome.
The Clean Energy Revolution that is being heavily promoted is neither clean nor is it cheap as those who promote it want us to believe.
Many important issues are being ignored as the push to electrify accelerates. An evolutionary approach is in order. This will allow time to work through some of the serious issues that have developed.
For example, recently in the village of Chaumont, Jefferson County New York, four tractor-trailer size lithium-ion batteries used to store renewable energy caught fire and burned for four days. Residents were advised to shelter in place as toxic gases were being emitted. Letting it burn out was the default firefighting method. This is not acceptable!
Governor Kathy Hochul was wise in quickly appointing a Fire Safety Working Group to investigate this and other fires of a similar nature occurring around the state. All lithium-ion battery installations must be suspended until the Fire Safety Working Group completes its work and declares that lithium-ion batteries are safe, and acceptable methods to extinguish such fires are available.
Lithium-ion batteries are in wide use and have a long history of unexplained fires that are difficult to extinguish. Typical lithium-ion battery applications include standalone installations for grid stabilization, storage to support wind and solar complexes, and powering of e-cars, bikes, scoters and skateboards.
The mining of the critical materials lithium, nickel and cobalt and the associated activity raise serious pollution issues. Further the disposal of tens of thousands of discarded turbine blades, worn-out solar panels and e-car batteries present a huge disposal issue. There are no acceptable recycling methods available for these items, consequently they will continue to litter our landscape.
Conservation, repair, reuse and recycle appear not to be in the Clean Energy Revolution game plan. Perhaps clean energy activities should be suspended until acceptable recycling methods are developed. Let us try to leave a cleaner planet to our children and grandchildren.
With regard to costs, heavy government subsidies – national, state and local – are an integral part of the Clean Energy Revolution. Low interest rates, production tax credits, energy credits, PILOTS and the like, mask its true cost. Without subsidies there would be no wind turbines, no solar installations, no e- cars.
Our children and grandchildren are being left with untold trillions of dollars in debt. These costs are only the “tip of the iceberg” as the government continues to assault the fossil fuel and automobile industries with legislation and directives that eliminate jobs and raise costs. It is an undisputed fact that e-cars are more expensive and dirtier to produce and require less labor than their fossil fueled counterparts.
It is an undisputed fact that despite all the government subsidies the automobile industry is laying off workers and losing billions of dollars in the manufacture and sale of e-cars. The deficit is being made up by fossil fueled car purchases. Consequently, those who purchase fossil-fueled cars are subsidizing the purchase of e-cars.
In summary, let us turn the Clean Energy Revolution into a Clean Energy EVOLUTION. Let us stop operating in a crisis mode, stop deliberately confusing weather and Climate Change. One bad storm indicates nothing about Climate Change.
Let us stop doubling down on bad policy and legislation and stop throwing money around with no accountability. Climate science is not settled and likely may never be. Let us stop pretending that it is.
Climate prediction models do not adequately predict the future. The effect of a major greenhouse gas, water vapor, is not adequately accounted for or well understood. Responsible research shows hurricanes are not increasing in frequency or intensity. Responsible research shows the burned area of Planet Earth have decreased over the past two decades. Let us pause to pay attention to the consequences of previous policy actions.
An excellent place to begin the evolution is to hold the Governor-appointed Fire Safety Working Group accountable to ensure that lithium-ion battery installations are safe and pose no threat to the public. Perhaps lithium-ion battery technology is not ready for prime time!
James C. Hoffman
Town of Somerset
We read, with interest, Mr. Lauricella’s letter to the editor regarding his least favorite months of the year, September and January.
In his editorial, Mr. Lauricella states that, “They [taxes] have been on the steady up creep for the last 3 or 4 years.” In another passage, he says, “I want to remind both boards that staying within the tax cap is not and should never be the measure that is used for a successful budget.” He also includes a confusing statement about the Super Bowl. Lastly, Mr. Lauricella seems to indicate that the Yates Town Board as well as the Lyndonville School Board, are “fleecing…” the taxpayers.
To let the Hub readers decide for themselves whether we are prudent stewards of the taxpayers hard-earned money, we offer the following:
From 2021-2023, the Town “Inside Village” tax rate was either flat or decreased each year (2021 = 3.66, 2022 = 3.55, 2023 = 3.66). And while the Town “Outside Village” tax rate has increased 2% per year (2021 = 4.83, 2022 = 4.93, 2023 = 5.03), the combined tax rate increase each year averaged below 2%.
Keep in mind, in those same years, the inflation rate has increased, on average, over 5% per year. Since Town Boards are elected to provide core services, would it make sense for the Town to increase the budget by 5%? Definitely not! We made prudent decisions to keep quality services at a sustainable cost – the true, “measure…for a successful budget.”
And in answer to Mr. Lauricella’s question, “Is there no discipline when it comes to spending?” Yes, there is! One example: the Yates Town Board has voted eight years in a row to freeze the board members’ and the supervisor’s pay.
Mr. Lauricella might also remember some additional fiscal accomplishments of the Yates Town Board in recent years:
We worked closely with town departments to publish the first-ever Town of Yates 5-Year Financial Plan which captures short-term funding goals and long-term fiscal vision.
We nearly doubled the Town’s portion of the underfunded Lyndonville Fire Company budget over six years, and we worked with the fire company and the village to establish the Joint Fire District.
We competed for and were awarded a $2,531,000 NYS REDI Grant for a comprehensive upgrade to the Yates Town Park to include a new pavilion, pier, kayak launch and handicap-accessible playground.
Meanwhile, the Yates Town Board is exploring the idea of a biodigester for farmers (unanimously supported by the local Farm Bureau), working to purchase a new snowplow using maximum leveraging of state funds, and expanding the Summer Youth Recreation Program.
By the way, personally, we believe that the months of September and January are a wonderful part of God’s creation. From the beautiful fall colors through Thanksgiving, to Christmas and each new year, we are blessed! The Super Bowl is OK too, even if the Bills aren’t in it!
John Riggi, Susan Hrovat, Harold Suhr, Terry Chaffee Jr. and Jim Simon
Yates Town Board